The National Consumer Commission and Ford are expected to make an “important announcement” regarding the future of the Kuga in South Africa on Monday.
The announcement will follow numerous incidents of Ford Kuga vehicles bursting into flames for no clear reason.
Trevor Hattingh, spokesperson for the Commission, told Ford it has a responsibility to protect consumers.
Hattingh told Radio 702 that, in terms of the law, they can order a recall if there are reasonable grounds to believe consumers are at risk.
“45 cars are more than enough,” he said, referring to multiple incidents of Kugas catching alight.
Ford South Africa recently stated it was investigating possible engine fires in Kugas powered by its 1.6-litre EcoBoost engine.
Ford was warned about burning Kugas – report
According to a report in The Times, Ford South Africa “was warned for at least a year that its Kuga SUV had potentially deadly problems – but appears not to have acted”.
The Times cited emails by fire investigator Larry Jenkinson‚ hired by Discovery Insure‚ which warned about Kuga fires. These fires were thought to be similar to fires in a related model in the US and Europe.
The fires in the US and Europe resulted in a mass recall of the Ford Escape, which is the name used for the Ford Kuga in that region.
Ford’s news operations director‚ John Gardiner‚ said the recalled vehicles are not the same as the ones imported into South Africa.
Ford fire problems in the past
This is not the first time the Ford Kuga, the Escape in North America, is under investigation for fire risks.
In 2013, Ford said it was recalling nearly 140,000 2013 Ford Escapes with 1.6-litre engines in the US because they may experience underhood fires due to overheating of the engine cylinder head.
Earlier this year, Ford also recalled certain 2010-2012 Ford Escape vehicles, due to a fuel leak in the presence of an ignition source.
In 2012, Ford recalled certain 2013 Escape vehicles with 1.6-litre engines, as the engines could overheat and leak fluid onto the exhaust system – resulting in fires.
The documents below show the concern raised regarding Ford Escape (Kuga) fires. A detailed list of fire-related recalls is available here.